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48000888“Don’t be a fool,” he heard. He wondered if it was real or imagined.

The man kicked his legs out like a child as he sat on the edge.

A crowd surrounded him, but at a distance one would reserve for the virulently contagious.

The man looked down. A couple of stray clouds wandered far below his feet, skirting the sides of the astoundingly tall and wide base of the building they all lived in. Hints of smoke trailed up, stinging his nostrils from some unseen lower level. Then he lifted his head and gazed up. The building loomed impossibly tall above his head like the narrowing tip of a mountain. Balconies, too numerous to count, randomly jutted forth, each lined with iron gates. Some had guards. Behind each gate, a ladder or steps led upwards to the next.

The man chuckled.

A sharply dressed man stepped forward slightly. “I work for a great company. Excellent benefits. The economy is so much better now and we are growing. Lots of opportunity. You should put in an application. If you work hard, you’ll move up quick.”

The man stared at his calloused and cracked hands. Then he looked above his head again. “Move up,” he whispered, the words floating away in the breeze.

A woman in a long white coat made her way to the front of the crowd next. “Don’t do this. Come to my clinic and we can talk about it. The way you think affects the way you see things. We have medication that might help.”

“No thanks.” The man’s gaze turned to the horizon as he shook his head. Except for the magnificent structure of the building, everything else was so far away, tiny. Does anyone else wonder what’s out there? Am I the only one who sees and thinks the way I do, he wondered silently.

Next, an old priest came forward. “My son, the Lord will carry and protect you, if you submit to his will. Why abandon life? He created everything you see just for you. That’s how much the Lord loves us. Nothing good will come of your actions. Your suffering will follow you.”

The man sighed. “Life is bigger than us and our stories, Father.”

A faceless voice shouted out with venom, “Jump then, coward. One less weak-minded idiot to support.”

“He won’t do it,” another jabbed. “He just wants attention.”

The man just sat and kicked out his legs again.

A young male, barely a man and donned with thick glasses, dared to step the closest. “Where’s your parachute? Did you forget about the force of gravity?”

With a wry smile the man asked, “Is there an app for that?”

Just then, a little girl squirmed through the legs of the crowd and even ran past the spectacled young man to stand right next to the man sitting on the edge. The crowd gasped. Someone yelled to grab her.

Her voice wavered, choked with tears. “Don’t leave us, sir. Please stay.”

The man turned to her and gave her the biggest smile.

“Don’t be afraid. I’m not leaving, I’m leading. I’ve remembered that we have wings.” And with that, the man leaned forward and slipped off the edge.

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